I've been a long time reader but this is my first post; I've never really had a reason to post anything in the past. Anyways, I want to share my experience with the 8m Cloud kite for those that are considering purchasing.
Prior to delving into my review of Board Riding Maui’s Cloud kite, I’d like to offer a brief description of my background. I’m a surfer, tried and true, that started kiting eight years ago to combat the blown out days. For the most part I’m into wave riding and only get the twin tip out once in a great while and I weigh 165lbs.
First off, I bought an 8m cloud off of Greg to replace a 10m in another brand, the 8m Cloud ended up having more grunt than the 10m it replaced (more on that later).
All the way around purchasing the 8m Cloud has been one of the best kite boarding purchases I’ve made and it all started with Greg’s customer service. I live in a location where I couldn’t get a demo kite to try out, so Greg was really patient with me, answering all my questions and as I a result I decided to take a chance and buy the kite. This service has continued even after buying the kite, answering the additional questions that I’ve had and discussing the kite’s flying characteristics. Although I hope Greg’s brand takes off, I hope he can somehow find a way to maintain the level of service he is offering at this time.
As a freestyle kite, I don’t have much to offer: it turns fast and jumps fine for me.
As a wave kite, I can’t say enough. The Cloud has all of the characteristics that I’ve been looking for in a wave kite and has exceeded all of my expectations. On the waves I prefer to ride a smaller kite, partially because I want less input from the kite while on the wave and also because I want something that turns quickly; the Cloud, meter for meter, is the fastest turning kite I’ve flown but then I have the added benefit of dropping down a kite size too. Now I’m able to use a smaller kite with increased turning speed without losing any power. When I got the kite my biggest concern was how it generates its power and if the grunty nature of the kite would pull me off the wave. Well, the kite generates a lot of its power through apparent wind; in short, you can go out on the kite seemingly underpowered but once you work the kite a little and get up on plane, it only becomes more powerful, which may explain why you can drop down a size. Meanwhile, with the short throw depower nature of the kite I can easily turn the kite on and off, generating pull when I need it and letting it drift when I don’t. I’ve also found it’s possible to make really tight radius turns with the kite and if you do so without pulling all the way in on the bar it won’t pull you off the wave, but if you do need a little power to get past the next section pull in 4-5 inches and you have all the power you need. Drift: this kite drifts amazingly well but even better is how the light weight nature of the kite allows it to float. I find some of the best waves available to me tend to be found in bays where there are wind shadows, which can present a lot of problems when you have a kite in the air. The other day I was kiting a really walled up wave in a bay with extreme gusts ranging from 13 – 25knots. Even though the wind dropped down to around 13 only momentarily, in the past I would have dropped the kite multiple times, with the Cloud it just kept floating, these kites love to be up in the air.
25knots, yep that’s overpowered on the 8m for me and the biggest possible annoyance of being overpowered on the Cloud is flutter in the canopy. Although I’ve read other posts where the Cloud’s flutter is a weakness, it doesn’t bother me; I just look at it as additional feedback through the bar. The wind range of the Cloud is comparable to any other kite; it’s just more geared towards the low end. In the past I was more likely to go out in seemingly overpowered conditions, whereas now with the Cloud it seems like I’m going out in seemingly underpowered conditions. For me the biggest challenge has been relearning my kite sizing.
In closing, I couldn’t be happier with the Cloud and I look forward to getting it in some of the other sizes.